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Six Mississippi HBCUs receive bomb threats in wave of violent threats across the U.S.

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Calvert White, a Jackson State University student studying social science education, attended class on campus on Feb. 1 after the bomb threat to his campus, and five other Mississippi HBCUs, had been cleared. He stands in front of the COFO Building on JSU’s campus.
Brittany Brown, MPB News

In a national wave of recent violent threats to historically Black colleges and universities, six Mississippi HBCUs reported receiving bomb threats on Feb. 1, the first day of Black History Month.

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Six Mississippi HBCUs receive bomb threats in wave of violent threats across the U.S.


The bomb threats were reported during the early morning hours on Feb. 1. Calvert White, a junior at Jackson State University, where a bomb threat was received, said he felt the tactics were an attempt to scare people.

"My first thought was that it definitely was not coincidental. These are not individual threats," White said. "Especially as an HBCU student, we are constantly under pressure and under stress. Outside factors that have nothing to do with us and our education that are trying to limit us in any way possible."

Mississippi Valley State University, Alcorn State University, Rust College, Tougaloo College and Hinds Community College also received bomb threats. After the threats were found to be unsubstantiated, operations resumed as normal at Jackson State, while the other campus shut down in-person operations for the day. 

Some JSU students, like Roderick Talley, still did not feel safe to return to campus. He said the HBCU bomb threats reminded him of other acts of violence, both historical and more recent.

"It made me very, very uneasy, and I was almost instantly reminded of the 1963 bombing of Birmingham at 16th Street Baptist Church. And I just thought...about how they rioted at the Capitol. I take it very seriously," Talley said.

Over a dozen other HBCUs across the country also received bomb threats. University of Mississippi sociology professor James Thomas said this wave is a part of a pattern of threats seen throughout history.

"You think about what has historically been the role of an HBCU. Historically, they’ve served to raise the consciousness of Black people in the United States," Thomas said. "What’s the purpose of the bomb threats? The aim is to sort of silence potential dissent, to instill fear, to reassert dominance."

On Feb. 1, hours after the bomb threats had been reported, Gov. Tate Reeves posted on Twitter, saying the state will do everything in their power to keep Mississippians safe. The day passed without incident, and the Mississippi Department of Homeland Security Director Baxter Kruger said they’re doing they’re best to find suspects and order for prosecution.